Insider Economy Eurostat: EU retail trade falls by 10.4% between February and March 2020

Eurostat: EU retail trade falls by 10.4% between February and March 2020

The seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade decreased by 11.2% in the euro area and by 10.4% in the EU, compared with February 2020, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In February 2020, the retail trade volume increased by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU. In March 2020 compared with March 2019, the calendar adjusted retail sales index decreased by 9.2% in the euro area and by 8.2% in the EU.

Ιn Cyprus retail trade increased in February 2020 by 0.9% compared to January 2020 and by 5.7% compared to February 2010 (latest  available data).

More specifically, in the euro area in March 2020, compared with February 2020, the volume of retail trade decreased by 23.1% for non-food products and by 20.8% for automotive fuels, while food, drinks and tobacco increased by 5.0%. In the EU, the volume of retail trade decreased by 21.3% for non-food products and by 19.3% for automotive fuels, while food, drinks and tobacco increased by 4.7%.

Among member states for which data are available, the largest decreases in the total retail trade volume were registered in Bulgaria (-18.1%), France (-17.4%) and Luxembourg (-16.4%). An increase was observed in Ireland (+0.1%).

In the euro area in March 2020, compared with March 2019, the volume of retail trade decreased by 21.7% for non-food products and by 21.3% for automotive fuels, while food, drinks and tobacco increased by 8.3%. In the EU, the volume of retail trade decreased by 20.1% for automotive fuels and by 19.5% for non-food products, while food, drinks and tobacco increased by 8.1%.

Among member states for which data are available, the largest annual decreases in the total retail trade volume were registered in France (-16.0%), Slovenia (-15.1%) and Bulgaria (-14.6%). The highest increases were observed in Hungary (+3.5%), Romania (+3.1%) and Ireland (+3.0%).

In March 2020, retail trade of food products (incl. beverages and tobacco) increased substantially compared with the average March growth rates of the last decade. Among EU member states, highest increases were observed in Luxembourg (+20%), Ireland (+14%) and Belgium (+13%).

In contrast, purchases of non-food products (excl. automotive fuel) dropped in all EU Member States, with highest decreases observed in Luxembourg (-35%), France and Spain (both -33.0%). The reduction in retail volume was particularly strong for textiles, with the sales reduced by half or more in a vast majority of EU member states.

Around mid-March 2020, many countries closed non-essential stores, whilst groceries, supermarkets and pharmacies could remain open. This had a clear effect on the retail trade volumes of various distribution channels.

Sales in supermarkets generally increased, even in countries that experienced the strongest declines in sales activities such as Bulgaria (-18% in total and 2% in supermarkets), Spain (-14% in total and 11% in supermarkets) and Portugal (-12% in total and 3% in supermarkets).

In contrast, sales in department stores, which were mostly closed after mid-March, significantly dropped across the EU. The largest drops were registered in Belgium (-60%), Spain (-39%), Lithuania (-36%) and Germany (-30%).

(CNA)

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